2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong, high-revving V8 engine
  • racetrack-oriented handling
  • well-appointed interior.
  • Cramped rear seat, assuming there's one to begin with.
Other years
2016
Ford Shelby GT350 for Sale
2016
List Price Range
$42,998 - $47,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Ford has again created a rather outlandish Mustang, this time the 2016 Shelby GT350. For track-day enthusiasts wanting affordable, from-the-factory performance, it doesn't get much better than this.

Vehicle overview

"They don't make them the way they used to." You usually hear this adage with a negative connotation, perhaps regarding plastic Hot Wheels toy cars or vapid Hollywood sequels. But when it comes to the new 2016 Ford Shelby GT350, not making it like they used to is a good thing.

Ford has long produced top-dog Mustangs, but usually it has gone with supercharging for extra power and kept the car's focus heavily street-based. For the new GT350, though, Ford has installed a unique V8, fitted racetrack-oriented suspension and brakes and tossed just about everything in the Mustang that doesn't help the car go faster, into the discard pile. You'd have to use your hot tub time machine to get back to the year 2000 and the Mustang Cobra R to find a 'Stang with this much appeal for racing suit- and helmet-wearing clientele.

The GT 350's 5.2-liter V8 is based on the engine in the regular GT, but with a lot of arcane wizardry done on the mechanical bits. It has a flat-plane crankshaft -- something normally only used in exotics like Ferrari V8s -- that helps it produce more power at a higher rpm, plus new designs for the block, cylinder heads and intake and exhaust manifolds. Even without supercharging or some of the latest engine tech features (direct injection or a dry-sump oil system, for instance), the GT350 cranks out 526 hp and has an outrageous 8,200 rpm redline. The previous Mustang Cobra GT500 boasted 662 hp, true, but the GT350 is meant to be a higher-revving, more track-based machine.

Building off the new Mustang generation's stiffer body structure and independent rear suspension, the GT350 receives a lowered ride height, a retuned suspension, available magnetorheological dampers, stronger brakes, available extra cooling capability and stickier tires. On the upgraded GT350R version, Ford has even installed lightweight carbon-fiber wheels (yes, really), additional aerodynamic body pieces (most notably, a rear wing a Cessna could admire) and deleted the air-conditioning, rear seat, sound system and even the tire inflator kit. Total weight loss is claimed to be more than 130 pounds. We're not sure if that includes your AAA card for when you get a flat.

At this point, you might be thinking: "Sounds great! How does it drive?" Well, simply put: It's awesome. The new V8 is glorious, but the GT350 is such a thoroughly complete machine that praising the engine alone does a disservice to the whole package. It's a track-ready Mustang that's still capable of being a daily driver. It's also in a class by itself. Chevrolet's coming out with a fully redesigned Camaro this year, so the track-based ZL1 is likely discontinued. Dodge's Challenger SRT Hellcat is gonzo (in a good way), but it's more about straight-line performance and doing super cool donuts/burnouts. Chevy Corvette? OK, sure, that'd be an intriguing alternative for similar money. Or maybe check out the Alfa Romeo 4C for an affordable Italian exotic. Ultimately, though, we're quite pleased to see that Ford isn't making Mustangs like it used to.

2016 Ford Shelby GT350 models

The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 is a high-performance version of the Mustang coupe. Standard equipment includes 19-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, a Torsen rear differential (with 3.73 gearing), xenon headlights, a rear spoiler, keyless ignition and entry, manual Recaro front seats with simulated suede inserts, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 4.2-inch center display, a rearview camera, phone and audio voice commands (Sync), smartphone app integration and a six-speaker sound system with a USB port.

Opting for the Technology package further equips the GT350 with adaptive suspension dampers, heavy-duty front springs, adjustable drive settings, leather upholstery, six-way power sport front seats (with driver power lumbar; these seats replace the standard Recaros), heating and ventilation for the front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen with the new Sync 3 interface, Siri Eyes Free, a navigation system and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite radio and two USB ports.

Also optional (but not in conjunction with the Technology package) is the Track package, which adds the adaptive suspension dampers and heavy-duty springs, the adjustable drive settings, a larger rear spoiler, a front suspension tower brace and additional powertrain coolers (oil, differential and transmission).

The GT350R is considered a package. Going "R" gets you the contents of the Track package plus 19-inch carbon-fiber wheels (with special Michelin tires), revised suspension tuning and aerodynamic body enhancements (front chin splitter and rear wing, most notably). The air-conditioning, sound system, rear seat, rearview camera, Sync system and tire inflation kit are deleted. However, if you can't live without these items, Ford offers the Electronics package, which puts almost all of it back in the car along with the dual-zone climate control, seven-speaker sound system, touchscreen and Sync 3 interface from the Technology package.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 is an all-new model.

Performance & mpg

Rumbling under the GT350's hood is a 5.2-liter V8 that produces 526 hp and 429 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission driving the rear wheels is the only transmission offered. We've yet to fully test the GT350 but will update this section with acceleration numbers once we do. The EPA estimates the GT350 will achieve 16 mpg in combined driving (14 city/21 highway).

Safety

Standard safety equipment for the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 includes traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, front knee airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is emergency assistance, a post-crash alert system (SOS), a rearview camera and MyKey, which can set certain driving parameters for teen drivers. That's assuming you're letting your teen within 100 feet of your GT350 to begin with, of course.

While the Shelby GT350 has not been specifically crash tested, the government tested a regular Mustang coupe. It earned a five-star rating (out of a possible five) for overall crash protection, with five stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Mustang coupe its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap front-impact crash test.

Driving

The 2016 Ford Shelby GT350's V8 makes power everywhere, but it's particularly energetic starting at 4,000 rpm and continuing well past 8,000 rpm. It also sounds like NASCAR-meets-F1 when you uncork that V8 and let it rev up to full song. On a racetrack, the GT350 -- particularly the R version -- is happily in its element. The steering is quick and responsive and the suspension keeps the car flat and composed. Braking is hugely confident as well. On the street, the GT350 is more livable than you might think considering how track-focused it is. The optional adaptive suspension dampers, which we recommend getting, do a great job of minimizing harsh impacts.

Interior

The 2016 Shelby GT350's interior is a lot like the regular Mustang's, which means respectable-quality materials and many of the latest conveniences. The Sync voice command system continues to hold appeal for its simple operation of audio and phone functions, but the notable addition for all 2016 Mustangs is the available Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system. It shows promise relative to its controversial MyFord Touch predecessor, providing an easier-to-use icon and menu interface plus smartphone-style pinching and swiping gestures.

Standard for the GT350 are Recaro front seats. On the regular Mustang, we've found they provide excellent lateral support for aggressive driving, but lack comfort for everyday driving. On a GT350, we'll admit they make sense. But for somebody using his or her GT350 as a daily driver, the "upgrade" sport seats, with their power adjustments and heating/cooling, will likely be a better choice.

The Mustang's rear seat is cramped, though it's big enough to ferry small children around well enough. Alternately, just ditch it all together and go for the two-seat-only GT350R. The trunk provides 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space, which is fairly generous for a sport coupe, and the rear seats can be folded down.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

A new legend is born
garth keefer,12/13/2015
R 2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M)
Worth the wait! After a year of anticipation, it's finally in the garage. You want this car because of the engine, and it does not disappoint. One of the best sounding and flexible of all time. The handling limits are just as impressive. I can't wait to get on a racetrack. The option packages are goofy. Ford makes you choose between the track package with recaros, powertrain coolers, and aero, or the tech package without the coolers but with sync 3 and heated/cooled seats. I bought the track car, but why can't I have sync3 ford? It was quite an effort to find one without a dealer markup. If you want a R model forget it unless you're willing to pay the five digit dealer extortion fee.
Real World GT350 Info
gt1116,08/14/2017
2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M)
I’ve had my GT350 for about 4 months now. Ford really did hit the mark on this one, but it’s got to be your flavor. This is NOT a GT500 with “go-straight” crazy power, this is a much more refined, high-revving, road car that literally feels like a super car on the curves. The flat plane engine changes the entire feel of the car…and how you wind it up. Sure, some of the GT500s, the ZL-1s, and the Hellcats have more brute horsepower….but they’re also heavier and much less adept when a winding road approaches them. Likes: -Voodoo Engine. Ford hit the mark with this normally aspirated engine that doesn’t even achieve max HP until 7700 rpms. Redline is 8250. It’s a dream to get acquainted with. This car does 50 mph in 1st and nearly 80 in second. -Gear box. Again, works like a charm without using much more than your wrist and each gear hits every time. -Handling. I’ve done a LOT of driving including on some of the best tracks in NASCAR. This car handles like a 200K car, no joke. It’s literally on rails. I’ve had this car pinned to the tail of much more expensive cars that just couldn’t seem to make distance. The adjustable suspension is amazing and works like a charm. -Maintenance. This car comes ready to go; watch your oil and change it when it tells you too (which is about 10 quarts of full synthetic oil that will touch you for a good bit of coin at 14 bucks a quarter ONLY from Ford right now). Everything else is pretty accessible and easy to get to. No surprises if you are mechanically inclined. -Brakes. Best brakes on the market and they are HUGE. This thing stops on a dime. -Black Wheels. This may be a CON for others, but I love them. Ford actually used black wheels to hide the tons of brake dust that are blowing off those monster brakes when you use them. It’s a flavor you love or hate and you see where I put it… Dislikes: -Recalls. IF you have or look at this model, you’ll want to make sure Ford has fixed the recall on the oil filler hose. They found in aftermarket testing that they burst due to a bad O ring. It’s no charge to get it fixed, just an hour of time. No sense in learning what the Voodoo engine costs to replace (25K). Also….Ford realized after they went to market that the oil filter MUST be torqued due to high pressure at the captioned rpms…they sent every owner a personalized filter wrench so check it out. -Track pack/Tech pack issue. Others have commented here…yes, Ford missed it on this one but this model year only allowed a track pack (with trans/differential cooler) OR a tech pack (with NAV and Sync 3) and it was an either/or. IF you got the tech pack and put the car on the track, you were guaranteed “limp mode” after about 20 minutes on the track due to overheating in trans/differential. Aftermarket packages are now out there to make a tech car track able…about 800 bucks. -Hood prop. You laugh, but who pays 50K+ for a car with a steal hood prop? Don’t worry, one C note and 5 minutes effort will get a nice set of struts approved by Ford and allow you to ditz the rod. -No spare comes with and no one even makes one yet. Not sure Ford even wants you to jack the car up. LOL -Apple Carplay. IF you want to maximize your Sync3, you’ll have to upgrade the USB port so that Apple Carplay or Android Auto works properly with Sync3. The upgrade is only 79 bucks and a lot of info on boards explaining the effort. -Lack of upgrades. If you like making a car your own, you’ll struggle here beyond floor mats, hood props, or shifter handles….Ford put everything but the kitchen sink on here so there’s not a lot left….find someone that does airbrush….
And still...The best drivers car available!
PTP-22,07/05/2016
2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M)
I’m updating my original assessment of the GT350 and I’m still 100% happy with the vehicle. I’ve had the car out for a couple of road course events and it performed even better than I anticipated. The car still gets attention from everyone that sees it & I am glad that I bought it. There are many newer cars that have been launched since this car & the direct competition is the Camaro. I had the chance to buy a new ZL1 1LE but after a short drive, I passed. The GT350 can’t touch the boosted Camaro’s performance but the overall experience is superior. The sight lines and full visibility are top notch. The design is fluid and devoid of the ridiculous downforce add-on’s and the suspension (while stiff) is not overly penalizing. My good friend bought the ZL1 1LE & he summed it best, “if I had to drive one for a single race event, it’s not even close, the Camaro is a beast, but if I have to live with it, The Shelby is unbeatable .” I still feel that way. I’ve also added an Alfa 4C and the Shelby is still superior. The Alfa is a crazier car to live with but if you are looking for a total experience with top notch performance, unbelievable sounds & great driving dynamics then the GT350 is the benchmark for under $100k. I've kept the car in it’s original form except that I had the exhaust resonators removed. It’s the best $200 I’ve ever spent. Louder , angrier and a battle cry that’s heard from blocks away & unlike the Camaro or Dodge’s, it’s a naturally aspirated sound that’s impossible to find (unless you’re next to a F458). My original assessment: The last Ford Mustang that I was compelled to own was a 1990 Fox body 5.0 GT. There's been a litany of different Mustang's and special versions but nothing like this one. I'm shocked that Ford was able to dream this machine up let alone build it. I've owned 2 Porsche 911's, 3 Vette's including a ZR1, Z06 & base Z51, Ferrari 360 F1, BMW M3 Dinan, MB AMG SL63 and a 1997 Viper. Out of all of the cars, this GT350 is simply different. It's ability to combine all of the ergo comforts with the vehicle dynamics and great acceleration make it an "ultimate vehicle" of sorts. My friend has a 2015 Z28 and this one is equally incredible on the track but far greater on the streets. Another friend has a 2014 Hellcat Challenger with a stick and the GT350 walks it on the track but can't keep up on the streets. The GT350 is as happy going to the grocery store as it is on the open straights at Milan or Grattan. I've also learned how to be a better driver because the car is very neutral and allows for the driver to delve deeper into hard driving. When I was racing my buddy at Milan, the car made me feel like Senna or Prost. I simply love it and the globalization of Ford's Performance Team shows in the incredible dynamics, handling and overall ergonomics. My only warning is to be aware of your settings because this car gets too much attention from the police. The exhaust decries a noise that's a combination of a Ferrari's whaling & a Mustang's deep bass; ungodly sounds that make me giggle under acceleration. The best true drivers car I've been blessed to own.
Amazing car! Well worth the money!!!
J.C.,04/10/2016
2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M)
I have owned several sports cars, including a mustang GT, corvette C6, Porsche 997 turbo, but the GT350 just feels so sporty and refined, it's a winner in all aspects. Very fast, the sound is intoxicating (I forget it has a radio) 90% of the time. The front seats are very comfortable. I have to say that the only downfall to owning this car has been the terrible service at the ford dealers. They make mistakes and don't know how to treat their customers properly.

Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 21 hwy
Seats 2
6-speed manual
Gas
526 hp @ 7500 rpm
MPG
14 city / 21 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
526 hp @ 7500 rpm
See all Used 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 features & specs
More about the 2016 Ford Shelby GT350

Used 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Overview

The Used 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 is offered in the following submodels: Shelby GT350 Coupe. Available styles include R 2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M), and 2dr Coupe (5.2L 8cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Ford Shelby GT350?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Base is priced between $42,998 and$47,990 with odometer readings between 2338 and19999 miles.

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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Ford Shelby GT350?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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